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Leaving work to care for someone

If you are thinking about leaving work because you don't feel you can combine employment and caring, there are a few things to think about.

Do you want to work?

If you want to work there are several options to consider. For example, could you work part-time, from home or job-share? Employers want to keep valuable staff so talk to your employer about ways they can help you stay in work. Although reduced hours would have an impact on your salary, you might think about combining work and caring as a solution.

If you want to care full-time

Full-time caring can be very rewarding and most carers would not consider having anyone else look after the person they care for. However, most full-time carers find they have less money and their social contact is restricted. Some lose their occupational pension and can find their skills deteriorating.

If you decide to take on a full-time caring role and then want to go back to work in the future you will be able to find help and support.

Money matters

If you are planning to resign you'll probably be thinking about finances. There is more information from the Carer's Allowance link.

Resignation

You may not have to resign to take on caring. Your employer may be able to offer you:

  • a career break - this unpaid break from working can be from six months to three years
  • voluntary redundancy - if you don't want to go back to work for the same employer and redundancies are being made, your employer may welcome a voluntary redundancy
  • early retirement

Talk to your employer or someone in your human resources (HR) department to see if any of these options are available to you.

Carer's assessment

Whether you choose to work, care or a combination of both, you are entitled to a carer's assessment. This takes into account your needs (for example, if you want to work) and what help the person you care for might need in your absence. Talk to you local Health and Social Care Trust for further information.

If you don't want to become a carer

You could talk to family and friends to see if anyone else can take on the caring role. Or if the person you care for is assessed as needing care, your local Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust has a duty to provide it. The type and regularity of care will be determined by your trust. You may find that some of the care is provided and you will have to pay for the rest.